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@Ed_Miliband’s speech at #Fab15 this morning (full transcript)

Photo from Twitter, a tweetEdM by @aishagani




It is great to be back at the Fabians.

And there is no better time to be here, than at the start of the year of the general election.

And I want today to spell out to you our argument in this election.

Let me tell you what I am fighting for and what I believe in.

I believe in a fairer, more just and more equal Britain.

I believe the work of all working people, not just those who get the big bonuses, should be properly rewarded.

I believe every child should have the best start in life and be able to afford to get an apprenticeship or go to university.

I believe that every powerful interest, from the banks to the energy companies, should be accountable to our country.

I believe our vital public services, including our National Health Service, are the pride of our country and must be there for us all when we need them.

And I believe we succeed as a society when we move together, not drift apart.

These are my basic beliefs.

All underpinned by one idea:

It is only when working people succeed, that Britain succeeds too.

And because of these beliefs, I believe this is the most important election for a generation.

Because it is the biggest choice for a generation.

About who we are.

About how we live together.

About how we succeed as a country.

That’s why it is more important than ever that we do what we know we can: go out and win this general election.

State of the Nation

Let’s start with where the country is now.

We all know the reality.

For the first time since the 1920s, working people will be worse off at the end of a government than they were at the start.

We all know the reality.

Young people face a harder life than their parents.

University tuition fees have trebled and apprenticeships for young people are falling.

We all know the reality.

Rents and the cost of a home put the dream of home ownership beyond the reach of millions.

We all know the reality.

Zero hours contracts have exploded, driving down wages and allowing some firms to play havoc with people’s lives.

We all know the reality.

We’re a country of food banks and bank bonuses.

A country where social mobility is going backwards and privilege is rewarded.

A country where millionaires get tax cuts and millions pay more.

And we are a country where they have failed on the deficit.

Because they have failed to tackle the cost of living crisis, because wages have been pushed down for ordinary families, because the revenues haven’t come in, they haven’t balance the books.

Week after week, month after month, year after year, this government has shown a tin ear for what is really going on.

They have denied the cost of living crisis.

They have been woefully out of touch with the daily struggles of families.

They have rubbished the idea that people are worse off.

They have pretended that their “give with one hand, take more with another” tax changes have made people better off.

Even this week George Osborne was saying we were set under him to be “the richest country in the world.”

And that his economic victory is complete.

Now, after all this denial and complacency, it is so clear that the Tories think this is as good as it gets.

And then we wake up this morning  and we now hear the Prime Minister thinks ‘Britain needs a pay rise’.

I think that sound we are hearing is people across the country choking on their cornflakes.

This is someone who has spent months and years telling us there was no cost of living crisis, and then if there ever was one, it had been fixed.

You couldn’t make it up.

Five years of denial, complacency and failure on living standards, and less than four months before an election, he claims to have woken up to the problem.

Who is he trying to kid?

You can’t wipe out five years of failure on living standards with pre-election pleading.

You can’t magic away people being £1600 a year worse off by trying to take credit for falling oil prices

You can’t obscure your decisions to cut taxes for a few millionaires, with warm words about everyone else.

You can’t change who you are: a party and a government for a few at the top that has betrayed the working people of Britain.

I say to the British people: you don’t need to look in the crystal ball to see what the next five years of a Tory government would be like.

You just need to look at their record.

Failure on living standards, failure on the economy, failure on the deficit.

You and your family worse off.

You can’t build an economy that really works for working people unless we have a Labour government.

And why has David Cameron suddenly claimed to understand the problems of the country?

Is it because he really means it or because he knows he has failed?

Of course, it is because he knows he can’t defend his record.

That’s one of the reasons he is running from debates.

He is neither proud of his record, nor confident about his plans for the future.

And his is a mission that will keep on failing the British people.

What is their plan for the next five years?

Well I have only heard one central manifesto idea from them.

To cut public spending as a share of national income back to the levels of the 1930s.

The Tory plan to shrink the state is far from complete.

In fact, they are not even half way through the cuts they would make.

And what would it mean?

An end to all central government funding for local government and the destruction of local services, from meals on wheels to children’s centres.

Our NHS undermined by cuts to social care and the reality that no national health service can succeed with the levels of overall spending that this government is proposing.

And this doesn’t just matter for our society, it matters for our economy too.

Because we can’t build a 21st century economy with 1930s levels of public spending.

Think about what the Tory plan would mean for the productive potential of our country.

Education, skills, opportunities for our young people: they would all be further undermined.

I tell you this:

The Tories will never tackle the cost of living crisis.

They will never build real and enduring prosperity for working people.

They will never balance the books with a plan to cut back to 1930s public spending.

Britain can do better than this

The Tories Can’t Answer the Challenges of the 21st Century

Of course, Britain isn’t the only country in the world to be faced with these challenges.

The problem of inequality, causing a cost of living crisis for families, is a problem right across the world.

From Australia to America, nations are grappling with it.

This is our generation’s greatest challenge.

And Britain should lead the way in showing how it can be solved.

The problem is that under David Cameron, we have a government who far from turning things round, is making things far worse.

Not by accident.

But because they are guided by totally the wrong beliefs about how a country succeeds in the 21st century.

Beliefs that have had their time.

Beliefs that should be consigned to history.

The belief that insecurity is the way you make working people work harder.

I believe that it is security and confidence that helps working people succeed, build strong families and a better life for their children.

The belief that low pay is the only way we can compete in the world.

Well, I believe something different.

I don’t believe we can compete with the sweatshops of the world on low pay nor that we should try.

I believe we should compete on high skills and high wages.

The belief that markets will always get the right outcome, even if that means powerful interests have all the power.

Well, I believe something different.

That no vested interest should be allowed to take the public for a ride.

The belief that we cannot afford decent public services when money is tight.

Well, I believe something different.

We can always make fairer choices, because we can’t afford not to have the public services we need, for our economy, our society or our future.

Above all, their belief that the success of the country depends just on a few at the top.

With the wealth trickling down magically to everyone else.

Well, I believe something different.

I believe that experiment has failed.

I believe the success of a country depends on the success of all working people.

The Tories’ governing mission is this:

Reduce government to its very core, cut services to the bone, give huge tax cuts to the very wealthiest and let powerful interests have things all their own way, and then sit back and hope the country will somehow succeed.

But it has failed.

Labour’s Plan

So Britain needs a new plan.

To address our economic problems.

A plan based on a fundamentally different idea.

The idea that if you put working people first, then Britain as a whole will do well, both now and in the future.

That’s what Labour offers in this general election.

Each day, each week, each month, the beating heart of the Labour government will be the fortunes of working people.

So we will balance the books and cut the deficit every year but not by shredding our public services.

Instead, we will make common sense reductions in spending, with departmental spending falling outside protected areas.

But we know that you can’t simply cut your way to deficit reduction.

So we will also make sure that everyone pays their fair share: we will repeal this government’s tax cut for millionaires and introduce a Mansion Tax, on houses above £2 million.

And most importantly of all we will cut the deficit with the different kind of economy we need for working people: higher skills, higher productivity, therefore higher revenues.

A race to the top, not a race to the bottom, in wages and conditions.

We will end the scandal of exploitative zero hours contracts.

We will raise the minimum wage to over £8 an hour.

And to create the country we believe in, to build that future, young people will be at the heart of our plan.

We judge the ethics of a country by whether it gives dignity to those in old age.

We judge the future of a country by the prospects for the young.

Now, I don’t think there has ever been a government that has so often made the young pay the price for hard times than this one.

We will have a new direction.

An education system that serves every child in our country: creative, inspiring.

And doing what our country has never done: valuing vocational and academic qualifications equally.

Every young person deserves a chance of a decent education after 18 and a career.

And we need to be doing the right thing by the next generation and the generation after that, by putting climate change at the centre of the agenda.

Not just for the environment, but in our plan for our economy and the jobsof the future.

To make this plan for working people work, we need every part of our society playing their part from top to bottom.

The powerful interests that had things their own way finally held to account.

Let’s have the fight about who will best stand up to the energy companies.

A Tory party that stands by as people are ripped off month after month, year after year.

Or a Labour plan that gives regulator the power to cut prices, with an energy price freeze until 2017 to ensure prices can only fall and cannot rise.

We will break up the big banks and get proper competition on the high street and create a British Investment bank, with regional banks in every single part of the country.

And those fair rules shouldn’t just apply to the powerful.

Everyone should play by them.

Including people who come to live and work in Britain from abroad.

Immigration makes us stronger, richer and more powerful as a nation.

But making immigration work for everyone and not just a few, means people should contribute before they claim and we should never, ever allow companies to undercut wages and conditions of workers here by paying slave wages to those brought in from overseas.

An open, tolerant Britain is the way we succeed in our economy and in our society.

An open, tolerant Britain inside not outside the European Union.

If you want to know what a real threat to prosperity looks like, think about a Conservative government sleepwalking to the exit door of the European Union.

Finally, our plan will transform our public services for the 21st century, even in tough times.

Including our National Health Service.

We’re a country where in the last two weeks, we’ve seen a treatment tent erected in a hospital car park, ambulances queuing up outside hospitals and a patient being treated in a store cupboard.

It is shameful.

David Cameron should be ashamed.

He has betrayed people’s trust on our NHS.

The British people will never trust him again.

And what you will see from Labour is plans for public health, for mental health and our ten year plan for the future of health and social care.

Not a plan for the NHS to stand still but a plan to improve the service for the future.

Because the only way to solve the A&E crisis inside our hospitals, is by improving services at home and in the community.

Access to GPs.

Care for the elderly.

A 21st century health and social care service.

And it is right not just to have Mansion Tax, but to raise new revenue from the tobacco companies and clampdown on tax avoidance by the hedge funds, for more midwives, care workers, doctors and nurses.

Because those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden and we need a NHS with time to care.

And it will be a NHS run on the right principles of care, compassion and cooperation, not competition, privatisation and fragmentation.

And that’s why we will repeal this government’s Health and Social Care Act.


The Choice Ahead

This is a plan that can change things for our country.

A plan that can make Britain a world leader in the campaign to tackle the greatest 21st century challenge of inequality and an economy that doesn’t work for everyday people.

It is a plan that can bring real, enduring prosperity to every part of Britain.

But it is not a plan that is going to happen automatically.

It will require a new way of doing things.

As well as tackling inequalities of income and wealth, we will tackle inequalities of power.

Because it is right thing to do.

And it is the only way to make our plan work.

All sources of power — private and public — should be accountable.

That means at local level, health, education and policing should be accountable to local people. And they will be.

And it means we take power and resources out of Whitehall, with a comprehensive, not a piecemeal, plan for city and county regions, over economic development, transport and skills.

A £30 billion devolution of spending to local people.

It is time to devolve power and reverse a century of centralisation.

And just as the only way to govern is by sharing power, so too the only way to win is with the power of our movement.

It is going to take a political campaign like no other to bring it about.

We’ve got a big task ahead us.

That task is going to be hard.

A task that those who currently have all the power will do anything to stop.

But remember this:

They are the pessimists at this election.

They are the pessimists saying this is as good as it gets for Britain.

We are the optimists.

Not offering false hope.

But a sense of optimism that we can do better.

Not a promise that it will all be transformed on day one.

But that we can change the direction of this country.

I know we can.

That is what good people round this country believe too.

We’ve got our chance now to change our country.

Let’s take it.

Let’s grab it

Let’s fight for the future of working people.

Let’s fight for the success of our country.

Let’s fight for the Britain we believe in: more equal, more fair, more just.


Ed Miliband's speech to the Fabian Society: full text #fab13

Fabian Society Annual Conference: Next State is taking place today Saturday January 12th and this year’s special guest is Ed Miliband. It is being held at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL. It has been fully sold-out.

The chair of the Fabians is Jessica Asato, @Jessica_Asato, also PPC for Norwich North.

The full programme is here on the website of the Fabians.

This is the text of Ed Miliband’s speech, which is clearly built around the three major planks of Labour’s ongoing policy review: the economy, society and political process.


It is great to be here at the Fabians.

Today I want to talk to you about the idea of One Nation.

The idea of a country which we rebuild together, where everyone plays their part.

It is not an idea rooted in Fabian pamphlets.

Though I bow to nobody in being an avid reader of them.

It is not an idea either rooted in academic studies of Sweden or any other country.

Though as some of you know, again I can talk at length about these subjects too.

It is an idea rooted deep in British history.

Because it is rooted deep in the soul of the British people.

Deep in the daily way we go about our lives.

Our relationships with our family, our friends, our neighbours.

We know this idea is a deep part of our national story because we have so many different ways of describing it.

“All hands to the pump.”

“Mucking in.”

“Pulling your weight.”

“Doing your bit.”

And every day we see it at work in our country.

On Christmas Day, I helped out somebody down the street from me who makes Christmas lunches for elderly people in the area living on their own, it’s that spirit.

The same spirit we saw last year in the Olympic Games.

Now because this idea is so much part of who we are as a nation, of how we think of ourselves, all politicians try to embrace it.

But its real potential, and what I want to talk about today, comes when we understand the deeper lesson for the way we run our country.

Turning this spirit of collective endeavour, of looking out for each other, from something we do in our daily lives, to the way our nation is run.

That is what One Nation Labour is about.

Taking the common decency and values of the British people and saying we must make it the way we run the country as well.

And why does this idea – the idea of One Nation – speak so directly to the state of Britain today?

Because we are so far from being One Nation.

While a very few people at the top are doing well, so many people feel their prospects diminishing, their insecurity rising.

They feel on their own.

Not part of a common endeavour.

You know, a young woman came up to me recently and told me she had decided to go to University in Holland because she said she couldn’t afford to do so in Britain.

Believe it or not, to a government minister her departure will seem a success because if more people leave the country it will help them meet their net migration target.

But it doesn’t feel like a success to me to have talented young people fleeing abroad.

In Britain that young woman doesn’t feel part of a country where she can play her part, she feels on her own.

And it’s not just our young people who are finding it so hard to do their bit.

There are so many people across Britain who want to play their part but don’t feel they can.

Those running small businesses are struggling just to keep their business afloat in the face of rising energy bills and banks that won’t help.

They don’t feel part of a Britain we rebuild together, they feel on their own.

And then take all the people struggling to make ends meet, to pay the bills, doing two or three jobs, they feel on their own with nobody on their side.

So what do so many people in Britain have in common today?

They believe the system is rigged against them.
They believe that the country isn’t working for them.
And you know, it’s not that any of them thinks Britain owes them a living or an easy life.

All they want is a sense of hope, they want to believe there is a vision for a future we can build together.

And that is why One Nation is such a powerful idea right now: because it is about our country and what it faces.

Can David Cameron answer this call for One Nation?

This week shows yet again why he can’t.

What did they call it on Monday?

The Ronseal re-launch.

But what did we discover?

The tin was empty.

And they have no vision for the country.

And what have we also seen this week?

The appalling attempt to denigrate all those who are looking for work.

To pretend that a Bill that hits 7 million working people is somehow promoting responsibility.

And all the time an attempt to divide the country between so-called scroungers and strivers.

To point the finger of blame at others, so people don’t point the finger of blame at this government.

Nasty, divisive politics which we should never accept.

It should be the first duty of any Prime Minister to be able to walk in the shoes of others.

This week he has shown he just can’t do it.

No empathy.

And no vision either.

So my overwhelming feeling in looking at this government is simple:

Britain can do better than this.

I have said what it means to be a One Nation Prime Minister.

To strive always to walk in the shoes of others.

But One Nation tells us more than that.

It tells us that we need to bring the country together so everyone can play their part.

And let me explain what One Nation is about in our economy, our society and our politics.

Let me start with the economy.

One Nation Labour is about reshaping our economy from its foundations, so that all do have the opportunity to play their part, not just a few.

And to understand what a One Nation economy means, we need to recognise how it differs from what New Labour did and also how it differs from the current government.

New Labour rightly broke from Old Labour and celebrated the power of private enterprise to energise our country.

It helped get people back into work, and introduced the minimum wage and tax credits to help make work pay.

And it used tax revenues to overcome decades of neglect and invest in hospitals, schools and the places where people live.

There are millions of people who have better lives because of those decisions.

It is a far cry from what we see today.

We’re back to the old trickle-down philosophy.

Cut taxes for the richest.

For everyone else, increase insecurity at work to make them work harder.

In other words, for the 99 per cent: you’re on your own.

Sink or swim.

For the top 1 per cent: we’ll cut your taxes.

We don’t need a crystal ball to know what this will mean, because the last two and a half years have shown us.

Business as usual at the banks, squeezed living standards, a stagnating economy.

No plan for rebuilding the British economy.

But the One Nation Labour solution is not to say that we need to go back to the past, to carry on as we did in government.

One Nation Labour learns the lessons of the financial crisis.

It begins from the truth that New Labour did not do enough to take on the vested interests and bring about structural change in our economy.

To make it an economy that works for the many not just the few.

From the banks on our high streets to the City of London to the big energy companies.

Now, New Labour did challenge the old trickle-down economics by redistributing from the top.

But again it didn’t do enough to change our economy so that it grew from the middle out, not from the top down.

One Nation Labour is explicitly about reshaping our economy so that it can help what I call the forgotten wealth creators of Britain.

The millions of men and women who work the shifts, put in the hours.

Who are out to work while George Osborne’s curtains are still closed.

And are still out at work when he has gone to bed.

Those who have gone to university and those who haven’t.

The people who don’t take home millions or hundreds of thousands, but make a hard, honest and difficult living.

These are the people on whom our future national prosperity truly depends.

So what do we need to do today?

We need to reform our economy.

To take on the vested interests that block the opportunities for our small businesses and for all the other forgotten wealth-creators.

We need a new deal for our small businesses who have been let down by the banks.

We have to tackle short-termism in the City to enable companies to play their part to contribute to long-term wealth creation.

We have to work with business radically to reform our apprenticeships and vocational education, so we use the talents of all young people, including the 50 per cent who don’t go to University.

And we have to promote a living wage to make work pay.

That is the way that we rebuild our economy.

From the middle out.

Not from the top down.

That’s what One Nation Labour is about in the economy.

So we learn the lesson of New Labour’s successes, embracing wealth creation.

We learn the lessons of what it didn’t do well enough, reshaping our economy and creating shared prosperity.

And we recognise there will be less money around because of the deficit we inherit.

That’s why Ed Balls rightly came to this conference last year, to say if we were in government today we would have to put jobs in the public sector ahead of pay increases.

And in a way that we did not have to be under New Labour, we will have to be ruthless in the priorities we have. And clear that we will have to deliver more with less.

So One Nation Labour adapts to new times, in particular straitened economic circumstances.
And the power of the idea of One Nation also shapes the kind of society I believe in.
One Nation Labour is based on a Britain we rebuild together.
That means sharing the vision of a common life, not a country divided by class, race, gender, income and wealth.

And that’s so far from where we are in Britain today.

We can only build that kind of society, where we share a common life, if people right across it, from top to bottom, feel a sense of responsibility to each other.

Now, New Labour, unlike Old Labour, pioneered the idea of rights and responsibilities.

From crime to welfare to anti-social behaviour, it was clear that we owe duties to each other as citizens.

It knew we do not live as individuals on our own.

And it knew that strong confident communities are the way that you build a strong confident nation.

All of this is so far again from what we have seen from this government.

This government preaches responsibility.

But do nothing to make it possible for people to play their part.

They demand people work, but won’t take the basic action to ensure that the work is available.

They talk about a “big society”.

But then it makes life harder for our charities, our community groups.

But here again the answer is not simply to carry on where we left off in government.

New Labour was right to talk about rights and responsibilities but was too timid in enforcing them, especially at the top of society.

And it was too sanguine about the consequences of rampant free markets which we know can threaten our common way of life.

Learning from our history, One Nation Labour is clear that we need to do more to create a society where everyone genuinely plays their part.

A One Nation country cannot be one:
Where Chief Executive pay goes up and up and up and everybody else’s is stagnant.
Where major corporations are located in Britain, sell in Britain, make profits in Britain but do not pay taxes in Britain.
And where at the top of elite institutions, from newspapers to politics, some people just seem to believe that the rules do not apply to them.
To turn things round in Britain, we all have to play our part.
Especially in hard times.
We are right to say that responsibility should apply to those on social security.

But we need to say that responsibility matters at the top too.

That’s the essence of One Nation Labour.

It shares New Labour’s insight about our obligations to each other.

And it learns the lessons of what New Labour didn’t do well enough, ensuring responsibilities go all the way through society from top to bottom.

And what does One Nation Labour mean for the way we do our politics?

It starts from the idea that people should have more power and control over their lives, so that everyone feels able to play their part, not left on their own.

New Labour began with a bold agenda for the distribution of power in Britain.

And it stood for a Labour party not dominated by one sectional interest, but reaching out into parts of Britain that Old Labour had never spoken to.

Inviting people from all walks of life to join the party and to play their part.

It wanted too, to open up our system of government and oversaw the biggest Constitutional changes for generations, including devolution to Scotland and Wales.

The contrast with this government is clear.

The way they operate, the high-handed arrogance of their way of doing things.

They cannot claim to be opening up politics.

And they certainly cannot claim to be rooted in the lives of the British people.

But once again we have to move on from New Labour, as well as from this government.

Because although New Labour often started with the right intentions, over time it did not do enough to change the balance of power in this country.

That was true of the Labour Party itself.

Of our democracy.

And of our public services.

By the time we left office, too many people in Britain didn’t feel as if the Labour party was open to their influence, or listening to them.

Take immigration.

I am proud to celebrate the multi-ethnic, diverse nature of Britain.

But high levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in our country.

And too often those in power seemed not to accept this.

The fact that they didn’t explains partly why people turned against us in the last general election.

So we must work to ensure that it never happens again.

And what is the lesson for One Nation Labour?

It is to change the way that power and politics works in our own Party right away.

That is what you will be seeing from One Nation Labour in 2013.

Opening up in new ways.

Recruiting MPs from every part of British life: from business to the military to working people from across every community.

Seeking support in every part of the United Kingdom, across the South of the country as well as the North.

Building a party that is dedicated to working with people to help them improve their own lives—even before government.

So for example, Labour Party members going to door to door offering people practical to help switch energy suppliers and cut their bills.

Creating a policy-making process that enables people directly to shape our policies so that they reflect their own concerns.

Jonathan Primett from Chatham wrote to us recently, complaining about rogue landlords at a time when the private rented sector is growing fast in our country.

Today I want to respond to him.

Britain is in danger of having two nations divided between those who own their one homes and those who rent.

If we are going to build One Nation, people who rent their homes should have rights and protections as well.

That’s about rooting out the rogue landlords.

Stopping families being ripped off by letting agents.

And giving new security to families who rent.

So we will introduce a national register of landlords, to give greater powers for local authorities to root out and strike off rogue landlords.

We will end the confusing, inconsistent fees and charges in the private rented sector.

And we will seek to give greater security to families who rent and remove the barriers that stand in the way of longer term tenancies.

That is a real example of how a One Nation Labour Party, by opening up our politics, is responding to the new challenges that the British people care about today.

One Nation Labour is also practising a new approach to campaigning—through community organising—which doesn’t just seek to win votes but build new relationships in every part of Britain.

For example, taking up local issues from high streets dominated by betting shops to taking on payday loan companies.

And, of course, a One Nation Labour government should open up too.

If devolution to Scotland and Wales is right, so it must be right that the next Labour government devolves power to local government in England.

And reforms our public services so that the people who use them and the people that work in them, feel as if they have a real chance of shaping the way they operate.

That’s the way to ensure we can all work together, to rebuild our country, with everyone playing their part.

That’s what One Nation Labour is about.

It learns the lesson of New Labour’s successes, seeking to reach out to parts of Britain that Old Labour ignored.

It learns the lessons of what it didn’t do well enough, of where New Labour left people behind.

And it recognises that in 2013, as the world has changed, politics has to change with it.

I talked about it in my Labour Party conference speech a few months ago about why I came into politics.

It was because of my personal faith.

A faith that we are better, stronger together than when we are on our own.

A faith that when good people come together they can overcome any odds.

For me, that’s what One Nation Labour is all about.

This faith isn’t unique to me.

It is deeply rooted in our country.

One Nation Labour is different from the current government.

And from New Labour and Old Labour too.

It will take on the vested interests in order to reshape our economy in the interests of all.

It will insist on responsibility throughout society, including at the top so we can build a united, not divided, Britain.

It will strive to spread power as well as working for prosperity.

We must build One Nation.

It is what the British people demand of us.

And, together, it is what we can achieve.

Shibley's Labour Party Conference in Manchester 2012







Saturday 29th

Socialist Health Association
And please note that we are having a meeting of the SHA Central Council
at 2pm on Saturday 29th September, also in the Friends Meeting House

Sunday – September 30th


Deeper Democracy: can parties reconnect people and politics?
Time: 12:45 – 14:00
Featuring: Stella Creasy MP, Peter Kellner (President, YouGov), Caroline MacFarland (Respublica), Kathryn Perera (Chair) (Chief Executive, Movement for Change)
In association with: Centre:Forum, Respublica


Five Million Votes presents Winning New Voters: Should Labour Lurch to the left or right?
Time: 17:45 – 19:15
Featuring: Rowenna Davis (Councillor, Southwark) (Chair), Lord Stewart Wood (Strategic adviser, Ed Miliband), Steve Hart (Chair, CLASS), Rachel Reeves MP (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury), and Luciana Berger MP (Shadow Minister for Climate Change).
Five Million Votes in association with the Fabian Society
Venue: Lord Mayor’s Parlour, Manchester Town Hall

The Fabians

Fabian Question Time: Labour’s Alternative
Time: 20:00-21:30
Speakers:Andy Burnham MP, Dan Hodges (Daily Telegraph), Owen Jones (The Independent), Polly Toynbee (The Guardian), Chuka Umunna MP and Alison McGovern MP (chair)

Monday 1

Labour Left

Labour Left Conference Event – “Poverty & Consumer Debt”
Policies to help the poorest in our society survive and escape debt
Free and Outside The Party Conference Cordon
Grahame Morris MP – The Working Poor
Karl Turner MP – Consumer Debt & Poverty
Jon Ashworth MP – Poverty and Inequality
Ian Mearns MP – Food Banks and Child Poverty
Date: 1st October 2012 | Time: 12pm – 2pm
Venue: Mechanics Centre 103 Princess Street Manchester M1 6DD
Booking: Email: | For Bookings Via Facebook


Growing Pains: How to rebuild the economy and restore trust
Time: 18:00-19:30
Featuring: Rachel Reeves MP (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury), Brendan Cook (Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC), Maurice Glasman (Labour Peer), Richard Lloyd (Executive Director, Which?) and Larry Elliot (Chair) (The Guardian)
In association with: HSBC


Labour’s Policy Review: The Shape of Things to Come
Time: 19:45 – 21:30
Featuring: Lord Andrew Adonis, Jon Cruddas MP (Chair, Policy Review), Angela Eagle MP (Chair, National Policy Forum), John Denham MP (editor, The Shape of Things to Come) and Andrew Harrop (Fabian Society) (Chair)

Tuesday 2

Labour Left

Labour Left Conference Event – “Keeping The ‘N’ In The NHS”
Free and Outside The Party Conference Cordon
John Cryer MP | Chair
Andrew Gwynne MP | Opening Address
Dr Eoin Clarke | The NHS – What Will Remain In 2015
Professor Bob Hudson | How To Repeal The NHS Bill
Date: 2nd October 2012 | Time: 12pm – 2pm
Venue: Purity Manchester, 36 Peter Street, M2 5GP Labour Left Conference Event – “The Only Way Is Ethics”

Labour Left

Free and Outside The Party Conference Cordon
Part One: Business & Financial Ethics 4:15pm – 4:45pm
Cathy Jamieson MP | Banking Ethics
Chi Onwurah MP | Ethics in Business
Part Two: Ethics In Society 4:55pm – 6pm
Tom Watson MP | Ethics in Press
Professor Beverley Clack | Ethics in Society
Margaret Waterhouse | Chair
Date: 2nd October 2012 | Time: 4:15pm – 6pm
Venue: Purity Manchester, 36 Peter Street, M2 5GP

Chinese for Labour

Immigation: Where now for Labour?

6 pm. Yang Sing Restaurant (Magnolia Room) 34 Princess Street, Manchester M1 4JY


Happy memories!

I thought I would post some of my happier photos of people I’ve met in Labour and/or the Fabians, a day before my birthday.

Scottish discomfort

Clearly, the most emphatic aspect of last night was the SNP’s decisive victory in Scotland. The Fabian Society has often recently emphasised Southern Discomfort as a source of votes. In other words, Labour latterly has been able to reach out to the Southern vote, such that you could travel from London to Grimsby without encountering a single Labour seat.

Ed Miliband needs to address carefully why the Scottish performance is so bad. Various aspects have come to light. Firstly, Ed had decided to use the elections as an offer to the Scots to deliver a message to the Coalition – the message that has been delivered is that the Scots want people to represent them positively north of the border, and they’re not sufficiently impressed with Labour to support them. Secondly, Ed badly judged the likely nature of victory of Scotland. Not only have the SNP been making good ground, but with promises that they may not be able to make, the overwhelming perception is that Iain Gray, despite being an undeniably nice person, is a flat uninspiring potential leader, and his campaign possibly peaked in a Subway shop.

The demographics are noteworthy. Labour’s Welsh performance was good, the Liberal Democrats undeniably had a terrible night, and Labour did make some gains in England. The scale of  these English gains is hard to assess given the ridiculous extent of expectation management from the Tory media concerning their ‘insignificance’.

However, it appears that Labour is relying more-and-more on a vote in Northern cities. It is not actually in Labour’s interest possibly for Scotland to ask for full independence (nor is it likely that the SNP would wish that), as that could lead to a redrawing of the England-Scotland border. The positive news is that if Labour regains its political compass in Scotland, it could make a recovery. The Liberal Democrats, making a recovery from Nick Clegg and their selective harpooning by the General Public in the whole of the UK, have their own problems. Reluctantly, it has to be said that the biggest victors of last night are Alex Salmond and David Cameron, even forgetting the result of the AV referendum for a second which looks like a resounding ‘No’.

Survey Results: If the Liberal Democrats want AV, they should ditch Nick Clegg?

23 people completed my AV survey last night in the space of two hours. Only people intending to vote Labour were invited to complete this short survey online. I offered this survey, as I have not made up my mind about AV. All respondents to the survey were given an explanation of what the AV system is. The United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum is a planned UK referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote (AV) electoral system for electing Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons. The referendum is planned to take place on 5 May 2011, having been agreed as part of the Coalition, and put before parliament in July 2010 as part of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill.

The history behind this, for Labour, is that we have historically been in favour of AV, so any U-turn on this may be in danger of being interpreted as political opportunism. It was an election manifesto commitment of Labour in 2010, and Gordon Brown was in support of AV. Nick Clegg is obviously behind electoral reform in some form, but is famous for being an advocate of PR. At the time of writing, the Labour think-tanks, the Fabian Society, Compass and Progress support AV. They are supported by the Electoral Reform Group.

I have witnessed on Twitter approximately an equal number of people in favour of AV as those who are opposed. Complementary to this, there was an even split in my poll results; 52% before completing the survey said that they would say ‘YES to AV’, and this proportion remained unchanged at the end of the poll. Interestingly, a huge proportion (72%) said that they would not be influenced by any campaigning. However, 65% said that they felt that the AV referendum was not a top political priority given recent political events, albeit the survey did not state any provide any details of these events. 74% felt that any official party line by Labour would not influence the voting choice for the respondent. 52% would not be worried if AV encouraged a coalition-style of government, and indeed the vast majority (72%) believed that Britain should have a coalition-style of government. However, a very high proportion (82%) felt that ‘coalitions break promises’, but worrying over half of respondents would consider voting ‘NO to AV’ if Nick Clegg remained Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

67% of voters felt that AV did not penalize extremist parties, and about half of the sample agreed that it eliminated the need for tactical voting (52%). The voters did agree with two major reasons usually given for voting ‘YES to AV’ including ‘the Alternative Vote is a fairer and more democratic way of electing our parliament’ (62%), and ‘it retains the same constituencies, meaning no need to redraw boundaries, and no overt erosion of the constituency-MP link’ (71%), and, more importantly, they felt that these factors matter.

The outcome of this very small study amongst Labour voters is that they don’t feel that there should be an official party line on this, and that they wouldn’t be influenced by any campaigning in any case. There was about a 50/50 split in those in favour of AV, and people did agree with the traditional reasons given for voting ‘YES to AV’. Intriguingly, this small sample suggests the Labour HQ should allow a free vote amongst the MPs. This would make sense for three reasons: if the country votes NO and the Labour Party vote YES, it could look as if Labour is ‘out-of-touch’, Labour HQ should be seen to trust its MPs, and, perhaps most relevantly, this vote is not supposed to be a ‘political issue’. Interestingly Labour voters would be more inclined to vote ‘NO to AV’ if Nick Clegg remained as leader. This suggests perhaps that if the LDs want AV the should ditch Nick Clegg. How ironic would that be…

Shibley Rahman on Ed Miliband's Labour

Ed Miliband’s Labour has to move beyond New Labour and commit to changes in policy and organisation as profound as those introduced by Tony Blair in 1994.

I would like to see 50p tax rate remain for those earning more than £150,000 – I would like to see it permanent, especially in this age of austerity, as a way of creating greater equality in Britain. When I met Ed Miliband for the first time in his primary school at Haverstock Hill, I had a photograph taken with him. During this smile, I said to him, “Did you know that in Tony Blair’s “The Journey”, the words inequality and poverty don’t appear once in the index?” He continued smiling, in a way that reminded me of my first ever supervisor at Cambridge, Prof Simon Baron-Cohen, and grinned, “No, really!” Labour has to be much stronger on issues of inequality and poverty, to regain the moral ground. It needs to win the hearts of England, let alone Middle England, and the legacy of an increasing inequality gap in Britain is one which I am deeply ashamed of as a English Labour member. The people who are described as the ‘wealth creators’ are also the people making money out of speculating on money inter alia, creating nothing of any artistic or scientific merit for this country, and to a large extent created the mess that the poor are now paying for. This is truly obscene. Actually, it was at this point I decided that I would vote for Ed Miliband as leader of my Party.

A policy review will be conducted including commissioned work by independent thinktanks and studies by each shadow cabinet member on the issues in their field. Ed Miliband is starting with new policies, but the same values. This is brilliant news – as it to some extent obviates the inefficient and ineffective policy formation groups of the antiquated Labour machinery. As a member of the Fabian Society, Progress and Compass, I warmly embrace this challenge, as we build our new policies addressing people’s aspirations, but recognizing that their expectations and hopes are threatened by insecurities. These insecurities are across a diverse areas of society issues, including housing, immigration, of course, the public services, the bedrock of Britain, what makes Britain special, and the heart of Britain’s infrastructure.

The changes proposed by Ed Miliband will indeed be substantial as the world itself has changed massively, and Labour did not change massively. I believe strongly it needs to have a clear idea as to whether it agrees with the commodification and marketisation of British life at all. David Cameron despite enormous backing patently did not win the last general election because he didn’t undertake the profound change he needed. What he has performed is a hatchet salvage operation, which does nothing to paper over the cracks surrounding Europe, for one. I am not even convinced that New Labour was in the right place at the right time even then, apart from being an antedote to Margaret Thatcher. Labour has indeed embarked on an intellectual and practical journey, but every long journey has to start with its smallest initial steps.

Ed Miliband furthermore says he does not want union levy payers disenfranchised from the Labour party elections, but is happy to look at how the relationship could be reformed. He once said publicly in a meeting which I attended that he didn’t want the Union to be seen as Labour’s evil uncle that we needed to lock in the attack whenever visited. The reasoning for this is clear – you don’t have to be a member of Labour to be a member of a Union, Labour was born out of the Unions and we have a proud history together, and the Unions represent the part of the business and industry that is interested in ethical action, not necessarily shareholder profit at all costs.

I will be supporting him all the way. Ed Miliband is full of surprises, and there’s a remarkable combination of focus and unpredictability in him I very much respect.

Dr Shibley Rahman Queen’s Scholar BA MA MB BChir MRCP(UK) PhD FRSA LLB(Hons)

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